Upon Claude Makelele’s departure to Chelsea and David Beckham’s subsequent arrival in 2003, Zinedine Zidane had this to say,
“Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”
Such was the significance of Makelele in the first Galactico. He was truly the backbone of the team that allowed the more flashy and glamorous names such as Figo and Zidane to flourish. Without Makelele, Real Madrid indeed lost their engines and ended up suffering three championship barren seasons.
It began unraveling for Real Madrid when Makelele asked Perez for a pay raise. Perez rejected his request, adding insult to injury by claiming that Makelele would “not be missed” and heaping scorn upon his “lack of talent”.
Obviously unhappy, Makelele handed in a transfer request and was quickly snapped up by Chelsea. 3 trophyless seasons later, a Ronaldinho led dominant Barcelona finally put the sword into the Spaniard’s first tenure at the capital club.
Ramon Calderon Era (2006–2009)
Despite enjoying relative success domestically. Ramon Calderon’s Real Madrid never really looked convincing, especially in Europe. Indeed one can make the case that Real Madrid underwent a period of identity crisis during this era.
It’s a far cry from the glamour and the appeal of the Galacticos. Which has become something that defines Real Madrid’s identity, cemented even further by Perez’s Galacticos. Throughout Real Madrid’s era of success historically, they are littered with Superstars like Di Stefano, Puskas and Sanchez. The club just doesn’t suit the title of “underdogs”. Which is what Calderon’s players were when compared to the dominant English sides at the time.
This is why Real Madrid were bad in Europe during the Calderon era. The club wins by buying and assembling the best players in the world.
That has been their identity long before it started becoming the trend in modern football.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.